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Raising Misfits

By Kacy Faulconer |

Let’s face it–we’re misfits. The internet is driven by a force of nerds, geeks, dorks, and fringe enthusiasts. We’re the ones reading blogs, writing blogs, searching Etsy for Dalek art, and furiously pinning Dumbledore quotes to our eclectic boards.

And we like it. We think it’s cool. What’s more, we want our kids to be cool too. But at what cost? Do we really want them to be ostracized, marginalized and teased like we were? Definitely not!

And therein lies the rub.

So we do all we can to make sure our kids are happy and liked and socially acceptable to spare them the discomfort we may have felt at one time or another. And yet. . . we turned out OK in spite of (because of?) the angsty injustices of growing up.

I chatted a bit about this on Huffpost Live last Friday. Kristen Rutherford suggested that indoctrinating her daughter into nerd culture might be setting her up for teasing (but of course she’s doing it anyway–bravo).  I don’t know. I think as parents we should stop over-thinking everything. We need to admit that maybe–just maybe–we can’t predict what is going to be cool and acceptable for our kids. We are parents and so–by definition–we’re the squares now. All we can do is love our kids and show them all the other stuff we also love. They will reject it or accept it, much like we did with our parents’ lame music and interests.

America in Prime Time devotes an entire episode to “the Misfit” on TV. I love this quote from George Meyer, a writer for The Simpsons,

“If you were one of the popular people in high school you were at the center of the action and you weren’t observing it and you weren’t having thoughts about it really because you were living it. And the envy and the resentment and all these emotions [that "misfits" feel] kind of make the creative person want to do a satirical take on it. ”

I guess that’s how so many misfits end up writing blogs and I guess we can take heart that whether our kids are participating earnestly on the Prom planning committee or making ironic playlists to listen to when they don’t get asked, they could (probably will) turn out OK. Just like we did.

More from me on Kid Scoop:

Use Superheroes to Teach Your Kids Science

Are Shy Kids Better?

Let Atticus Finch Teach You to be an Awesome Parent

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About Kacy Faulconer

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Kacy Faulconer

I'm Kacy Faulconer. I'm your friend. Read more from me at Every Day I Write the Book. Read bio and latest posts → Read Kacy's latest posts →

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8 thoughts on “Raising Misfits

  1. La Yen says:

    I think about this all the time. I want her to turn out like me in some ways, but I never ever want her to experience the things that I experienced. More than anything I want her refined without ever feeling the refiner’s fire.

    1. Kacy Faulconer says:

      Something tells me Jooj will be JUST fine. No matter what.

  2. Zina says:

    I agree with La Yen; surely it’s possible to raise tough, strong, independent kids without ever allowing them to experience anything difficult or challenging–right?

    I will say that, while I’m not able to exemplify anything but nerdiness to my kids, some of mine seem to manage to rise above it. Sometimes.

  3. Megan says:

    I was just talking about this with a friend the other day. Everything that made us nerds/geeks/unpopular in high school, seem to be the same qualities that make people seek us out as adults. We geeks now have the positions of power and/or prestige in the community(for the most part), and the mean girls find themselves waiting tables and posting anti-bullying messages on Facebook. There are always the handful of people who were popular because they were actually nice along with being good looking/athletic too, who are doing just fine as adults. It should be interesting to see everyone at my 15 year reunion later this month.

    1. Kacy Faulconer says:

      I really like your observation, Megan, that mean girls grow up to wait tables and post anti-bullying messages on Facebook.

  4. Tamsin says:

    The Dalek in the bath saying “exfoliate!” made me cackle in the nerdiest way.

  5. MJ says:

    I like Megan’s observation too. I find myself, as an adult, gravitating toward the people who were misfits in school. I don’t think I was “popular,” but I do think I had lots of friends because I was kind. Now I find that my relationships with people who were probably popular in high school are a lot more superficial than the relationships with people who were probably misfits. And I also realized that the people I stay in touch with most from high school are those who weren’t the most popular.

  6. Hailey says:

    I think about this a lot. I was a happy, well-adjusted kid, but had kind of a dramatic home life. I never thought I was funny until I realized as an adult that my sense of humor/geekiness had gotten me through everything. I totally want the same for my kids.

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